I had always found comfort in the idea that I share a number of similarities with my mother. She was a strong matriarch that was unbending to the wills of the world and I pride myself for having being birthed by such a complex African woman.
In Africa, women have, for generations been dominated by patriarchy in societies that were defined according to the wills and standards of men. But, in every generation there are women who fight this domination and become, and they are called ‘difficult women’. Author, Pumla Dineo Gqola, wonderfully puts this in context for us by defining ‘difficult women’ as women who purposefully defied the traditional roles they have been confined to. They are women who acted against these social limitations and have gone on to lead and be voices for the transformation of various oppressive structures of the world. When she describes the late Kenyan activist and author, Wambui Otieno, she reflects on a woman who belonged to herself unapologetically in a time when that was a difficult and radical way of being.
I applaud the magnitudes we have all invested in the prosperity of ourselves and others. I applaud your presence, your strive, your thrive and the great level of discipline and restraint in which you often show up in difficult times. I applaud you for waking up everyday and emerge to the task of being a difficult women. As none, can perform difficult tasks in the way that difficult women can.
Salute, Qhubeka Mbokodo. Happy Women’s Month.